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9ways

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Within the confines of the sound healing community, we find a wide variance of protocols in how sound is conducted in a therapeutic manner; and sometimes there is no protocol followed whatsoever. However, through history we find numerous credendums and suggestions from many music philosophers and theorists.

In looking at what is most familiar to westerners is Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher closely associated to the term ‘music of the spheres’, creator of the musical scale, Father of Geometry, and the harmonic series among other achievements. To this day, no one is in agreement to where he was born, some writers put his place of birth on the island of Samos, other writers insist he was born in Sidon (Lebanon). Many writer’s shower him with the creation of the diatonic musical scale, but further investigation reveals that he learned this musical scale from a Thracian teacher he studied with in Persia. He simply brought it to the Greeks. But what is important is the Pythagorean Intervals (harmonics) and how they are widely embraced today by the sound healing community. For example, Pythagorean Tuning Forks, or Planetary Gongs reflecting the thought of cosmic harmony or the music of the spheres. Much has been said, written about, and presented on why these intervals are important in sound healing work. Or, why mathematics is the general rule influencing sound work.

About 100 years after Pythagoras, an Italian music theorist was born, who has been influential in music theory and application from Ptolemy, Boethius, Avicenna, up to Iannis Xenakis and the experimental music composers of modern times. So who was this man, and why is he important to this discussion?

Aristoxenos was from the Greek colony of Tarentum, Italy in the 4th century BC. Early in his life he was associated with the Pythagoreans, but later moved to Athens to study with Aristotle. He was the Son of the noted musician and poet Spintharos, who taught him the musical traditions of the Greek colonies. “The new musical theory that Aristoxenos created about 320BC differed radically from that of the Pythagorean arithmeticians. Instead of measuring intervals with discrete ratios, Aristoxenos used continuously variable quantities.”[1] He was opposed to numeration and held that the trained ear of the musician was accurate enough. He also felt the “Greek music was mostly monophonic, with heterophonic rather than harmonic textures.”[2] His divergence from the prevailing Pythagorean formulas was revolutionary for the times. Looking today at our understanding of the early Greeks, “Present knowledge of acoustics further confirms the Pythagorean formula by showing that reciprocals of harmonic ratios appear among vibration frequencies of musical tones and also among the natural harmonic constituents of composed tones. Thus harmony in music originates in number, while the fundamental laws of the universe as expressed in number achieve palpable form through musical harmony.”[3] Or, what we call today, harmony of the spheres.

But the logic of Aristoxenos does not deny the legitimacy of these observed relationships. “It simply dismisses the Pythagorean formula and their metaphysical extensions as extraneous to the art of music.”[3] Quoting Aristoxenos “The mere sense-discrimination of magnitudes is no part of the general comprehension of music. Mere knowledge of magnitudes does not enlighten one as to the functions of the tetracord, or of the notes, or of the differences of the genera, or, briefly, the differences of simple and compound intervals, or the distinction between modulating and non-modulating scales, or modes of melodic construction, or indeed anything else of the kind.”[5]

It is said that Aristoxenos was the author of 453 books (Pythagoras wrote one)[6] many on the pronouncements of music, dance, musical instruments, and tragedy; with his monumental work Elements of Harmonics having survived to present times. This work inspired Boethius’s De Institutione Musica of the Middle Ages for example. “Aristoxenos invented musicology as a discipline in itself, not subservient to cosmology or ethics. He brought method to the investigation of harmonics, and he devised essential conceptions: that musical sound is that which proceeds by stepped pitches; that note is the first element of melody and that how it functions in a scale is what makes it musical; that larger intervals can be put together from the tone and smaller intervals defined as parts of a tone.”[7] Aristoxenos’s tetracord notations were embraced by the Greek Orthodox church for it’s liturgical modes, and influenced Islamic treatises, specifically the tunings of al-Farabi and Avicenna.

From a sound therapy viewpoint, and which I feel is very important, is that Aristoxenos argued that musical intervals should be classified by their effects on listeners as opposed to merely examining their mathematical ratios which was contrary to the Pythagorean. This notion by Aristoxenos, brought the scientific study of music into the mind, followed by the first psychophysics experiments at the dawn of experimental psychology, which mapped changes in the physical world onto changes in the psychological world. He sought to separate the study of music from that of both physics and mathematics. He refused to make use of any ratios in his treatise, distinctly contra the Pythagoreans, and he also spoke of the raising and lowering of pitch in terms of tension and relaxation, which in his day would admit of no exact numerical measurement, rather than in terms of string-length, from which ratios could be calculated. Aristoxenos rejected the opinion of the Pythagoreans that arithmetic rules were the ultimate judge of intervals and that in every system there must be found a mathematical coincidence before such a system can be said to be harmonic. He asserted that by hearing, we judge the magnitude of an interval, and by the understanding we consider its many powers. And that the nature of melody is best discovered by the perception of sense, and is retained by memory; and that there is no other way of arriving at the knowledge of music. I feel that this philosophy is embraced by many sound healers today, by watching and becoming aware of how the sound is effecting others, and that exact numbers may not be as important as others assert. That perception in the present moment guides us, and defines our actions by reason or intuition. Allowing us to move outside the conception that mathematics is the rule, when we feel that another methodology is most needed, or liberated from the unforgiving rigor of mathematical definition.

Postscript Comment: Pythagoras is quoted as saying: “Through Vibration comes Motion, through Motion comes Color, through Color comes Tone”, there is no recorded evidence that he ever uttered the phrase “the music of the spheres,” it is pure speculation that he said that. Many people also speculate that Pythagoras invented the diatonic musical scale as well, but it was already in existence for 1,000 years before Pythagoras was born.

1 & 2- Divisions of the Tetrachord, John Chalmers, Frog Peak Music
3 & 4- Pythagoras and Aristoxenos Reconciled, Norman Cazden, Journal of the American Musicological Society Vol. 11
5- Elements of Harmonics, Aristoxenos - Oxford Press
6- Sound Therapy Timeline, a private research paper - Mitch Nur, PhD
7- Aristoxenus of Tarentum and the Birth of Musicology. Studies in Classics, vol. 9 by Sophie Gibson, Rutledge Publishing (reprint from the Bryn Mawr Classical Review)

© 2016 Mitch Nur, PhD
9waysacademia@gmail.com


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Gary Buchanan

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Reply with quote  #2 

The reference to Pythagoras’ “Music of the Spheres” is found abundantly in Pythagoras’ teachings.

For example, from the “History of Philosophy,” (Thomas Stanley 1970, based upon the 1687 facsimile) Part IX, Chapter VII, we find discussion of “Intuition by Music," in which he discusses how healing with music/sound was accomplished by the Pythagoreans.

“As for himself (Pythagoras) he never played on any Instrument, or anything, but had it within him; and by an unconceivable kind of divinity, he applied his ears and mind unto the harmony of the world, which he alone did understand; and understanding, the Universal Harmony and Concept of the Spheres.”

Pythagoras did, indeed, receive much of his learning from the Thracian Xalmoxes and others, particularly during his visits/stays in, for example at Mt. Carmel with the Essene teachers, in Egypt with the solar priesthoods (ON), etc. Moreover, so much of what he taught had been preserved for many ages (perhaps since 10,000 B.C.E.) among the Ubaid cultures, and evolving solar cultures, e.g., north Indian, Sumero-Persian, Akkadian-Amorite, Thracian, and only later among Pythagoras’ predecessors in Turkey and Greece, i.e., the Milesian philosophers. Thales had already borrowed the trinaglar and other "theorems" from Babylonia. The P.T. was known and used in Asia millennia before.

Not quite sure why we would use Aristoxenos as a source of sound healing information. As Aristotle actually abandoned much of his own teacher’s concepts (Plato), Aristoxenos appears to have left behind even less in his meager writings., e.g., the incomplete “Elements of Harmony.” It was, indeed, Aristotle who ushered in a more naturalistic and atomized, “scientific,” method to analyze within the Peripatetic school, in distinction to the rather more abundant “four element” teachings of Plato.

Aristoxenos certainly introduced a “proto-species” in what is now “musicology,” leading to the later formulation of simplistic modes and contrapuntal practices. Essentially, the entire concept had long been known --- was borrowed pretty much from the “rags” of the Brahmins, hymnody of the Carmelites, Alexandrian Therapeuts/Thervedas, among others.

The archetypal Platonic concepts (principles) of geometry, mathematics in music, et alia, have now to large extent been confirmed --- for example via the science of Cymatics, and as very well explained by Buckminster Fuller (Synergetics) and his Swiss colleague, Hans Jenny.  

Essentially, sounds ARE “spheres,” or as John Reid would say, “bubbles.” Oscillons, bosons, solitons, etc. determine the geometry of the phonon chains within those "spheres," including all harmonic and bioresonant affectations, observable as sacred geometries within which are contained information factors (that speak to "Consciousness"), multi-dimensional, along with the invisible torsion fields in motion (background vectors). Modern sound healing technologies, such as ultrasound, are based upon these understandings. In quantum physics it is posited that 3 phonons plus 3 photons constitute 1 gluon, the basis of intelligent bioresonance, mnemonics, in the DNA.

“Dismissal of the Pythagorean Formula” and all that came before, and after, to me in favor of passing music “theory” is not the best direction for some of us..

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9ways

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thank you for your input and comments. It is overwhelming assumed by the later writers of Pythagoras that the term 'Music of the Spheres' was  closely associated to the Samian, but since no actual evidence was left behind by him, we only have 2nd and 3rd hand information to go on. Farabi makes a strong argument on why this is nonsense, and recent writings by Richard Dumbrill  a leading expert in the archaeomusicology of the Ancient Near and Middle East, makes a strong case that Pythagoras never existed in the first place. Aristoxenos wrote 100% more writings than Pythagoras and much more than the Pythagoreans. So to say that it was 'meager' is misdirected. Even if he only wrote half of the books he is said to have written, he overwhelms the writers of Pythagoras, it's not even a contest! He did indeed finish his Elements of Harmonics, the fact we don't have a complete copy is not his fault. The Stagirite quite frankly missed some very important 'hidden meanings' in Plato's work, which has carefully been exposed by McClain and others. An assiduous look at the Sefer Yetzirah may help you understand some of this early Babylonian stuff more clearly. I have Stanley's manuscript, and what the Pythagoreans thought they were doing was already known by others in a different part of the world. For example, the Brachmanes knew this before the Pythagoreans. But what the article was about, was to look at another opinion, to see what it offered. Aristoxenos's makes a clear point regarding 'tension and relaxation' regarding the tuning of stringed instruments at a time when people were solely looking at number. I feel that is a valid point for sound workers, possibly you think otherwise, and that is fine. I don't remember writing or suggesting the 'dismissal' of the Pythagorean formula, but to possibly consider other arguments, a type of synergetics so to speak. Indeed, much has come before and after both Aristoxenos and the Pythagoreans; and I am not suggesting you toss everything away to favor Aristoxenos, but to consider his contribution. Xalmoxes is not his Thracian name by the way, I want to clear that up, so others are not confused. And even though the work of Jenny is important, I'm not sure why he's part of this discussion. Much of what you say has truth to it, but we need to look beyond 'accepted' concepts.

Added- May 8th - Responding further to Gary's comment, specifically this part - " Essentially, sounds ARE “spheres,” or as John Reid would say, “bubbles.” Oscillons, bosons, solitons, etc. determine the geometry of the phonon chains within those "spheres," including all harmonic and bioresonant affectations, observable as sacred geometries within which are contained information factors (that speak to "Consciousness"), multi-dimensional, along with the invisible torsion fields in motion (background vectors)." - the quote from John Reid is a bit suspect - spheres and bubbles are circles and at the atomic level, sound atoms are not perfect circles/solid spheres which we use to describe many macroscopic/classical phenomena. In essence, they are fuzzy (there's also a bit of empty space within that atom). So upon further investigation, sound is NOT rather than ARE - spheres at the atomic level. They have electrical boundary's which do not make them exactly a bubble. For the sake of conversation to someone not familiar with physics, I suppose you could mention the term 'bubble' to help them understand, but if they don't understand physics it would be better to use the term 'wave'.

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9ways

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Reply with quote  #4 
Some recent research regarding Pythagoras: Petrus Comestor a 12th century writer suggests that Pythagoras is based on Tubalcain, a descendant of Cain, and the son of Lamech and Zillah; mentioned in Genesis 4:22.
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RichG

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Reply with quote  #5 

Mitch, what do you mean by "is based on"?
Do you mean that Pythagoras is a myth or a story of someone who didn't exist, or that his work is based on Tubalcain's?


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9ways

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Rich, I've been researching when humans first discovered 'resonant' bronze. In my research, I've been reading the translated works of Petrus Comestor, a twelfth-century French theological writer and university administrator. Many of the stories attributed to Pythagoras, seemed to be 'borrowed' from Tubalcain. In Comestor's Historia Scholastica, he compares the 2 lives, and the similarities cannot be ignored. According to Professor Richard J. Dumbrill of the City University of New York (formerly Oxford) an ethnomusicologist/archaeomusicologist, in a paper, he makes references to Plato, and that Plato suggested that Pythagoras was invented.

I've done quite a bit of research on Pythagoras, and have tracked him historically to many locations and teachers stretching to India. It's only a theory of mine, that possibly the person we call Pythagoras, was known by another name. There's compelling evidence building that he may be real or false. I found mentions that he was born in Lebanon and not Greece. Where is his resting place? For example.

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Interesting, thanks!
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9ways

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Many people today in the music and sound healing arts drag Pythagoras around to suit their theories. There's only a couple of writers of Pythagoras that come right behind his death. The remaining writings regarding him, come much later, many from Rosicrucian sources (French), which are either poor translations or opinion. I have the Stanley book that was mentioned above, as well as practically every book written about Pythagoras. There is a large body of evidence supporting his existence, but there is also this undercurrent of research that says otherwise. Namely from Dumbrill who has interrogated the writings of Plato. I've come to a place where I'm wondering if the person we call Pythagoras was a made up version of someone else. Plato said he was an 'invention.' Aristotle felt that Plato made up Atlantis. Was there an academic rivalry going on in Greece at that time, between all the 'thinkers?' Evidence supports that everything 'we think' Pythagoras invented, was already known for hundreds of years before. He really was not the first of anything, but he did bring knowledge to the West from other sources unknown to us at that time.

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Reply with quote  #9 

Thanks again, Mitch. Very fascinating. Being that I'd never find the time and intention to do such level of research myself I truly appreciate it when someone like you does and then shares your findings and thoughts about it. Please feel always welcomed and invited to share more of your findings here, on this and other topics. I think there should be little doubt that at bare minimum, no small amount of what we've been commonly told to be the truth of historical figures has been 'embellished', to say the least.

Of course my favorite indisputable Pythagorean fact, widely disseminated in today's music and sound healing scene, is that he tuned his instruments to 432Hz. [rolleyes]


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9ways

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Your most welcome and thank you for the kind words. There's so much we don't know or understand regarding the histories of ancient cultures. The nonsense that swirls around Pythagoras is just a small fraction of what the West has adulterated. Above, in Gary's comment, he mentions that in Stanley's book, that Pythagoras did not play a musical instrument. Absurd. This is why Stanley cannot be regarded as an accurate source for Pythagoras. Pythagoras played the Lyre, which was a common instrument in his day, and he added an additional string to the Lyre. Shortly thereafter, he decided that all Lyre's should have the Tai Loi symbol inscribed on it, as a nod of gratitude to Hammurabi. Thereafter, he recommended that all Lyre players tune the 'A' string at 432hz. About 1000 years later, one of these Tai Loi Lyres was taken by Marco Polo to China, and then the Chinese started to imprint all Gongs with the Tai Loi, in tribute to Pythagoras, and shortly thereafter adopted the 432hz tuning reference as well. By accident, a horizontal Gong was sounded at 432hz and a mandala like imprint was noticed on the surface of the Gong. Upon seeing this design, in tribute to Pythagoras they called the design a 'cymatic.' And there you have it!
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Reply with quote  #11 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9ways
Pythagoras played the Lyre, which was a common instrument in his day, and he added an additional string to the Lyre. Shortly thereafter, he decided that all Lyre's should have the Tai Loi symbol inscribed on it, as a nod of gratitude to Hammurabi. Thereafter, he recommended that all Lyre players tune the 'A' string at 432hz. About 1000 years later, one of these Tai Loi Lyres was taken by Marco Polo to China, and then the Chinese started to imprint all Gongs with the Tai Loi, in tribute to Pythagoras, and shortly thereafter adopted the 432hz tuning reference as well. By accident, a horizontal Gong was sounded at 432hz and a mandala like imprint was noticed on the surface of the Gong. Upon seeing this design, in tribute to Pythagoras they called the design a 'cymatic.' And there you have it!


Thanks for this excellent summary! I have been looking for this information for a long time, and now that I've found it I can't wait to share it with all of my students as I certify them to be true sound healers. [biggrin]

You are a goldmine Mitch! Keep up the Great Work! <3

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RichG

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9ways
Pythagoras played the Lyre, which was a common instrument in his day, and he added an additional string to the Lyre. Shortly thereafter, he decided that all Lyre's should have the Tai Loi symbol inscribed on it, as a nod of gratitude to Hammurabi. Thereafter, he recommended that all Lyre players tune the 'A' string at 432hz. About 1000 years later, one of these Tai Loi Lyres was taken by Marco Polo to China, and then the Chinese started to imprint all Gongs with the Tai Loi, in tribute to Pythagoras, and shortly thereafter adopted the 432hz tuning reference as well. By accident, a horizontal Gong was sounded at 432hz and a mandala like imprint was noticed on the surface of the Gong. Upon seeing this design, in tribute to Pythagoras they called the design a 'cymatic.' And there you have it!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnetone

Thanks for this excellent summary! I have been looking for this information for a long time, and now that I've found it I can't wait to share it with all of my students as I certify them to be true sound healers. [biggrin]

You are a goldmine Mitch! Keep up the Great Work! <3

Be careful guys, I think you need a 'sarcasm alert'! Before we know it this will be spread all over the internet with great seriousness as 'Profound Historical/Mystical Truth', with various obscure, channeled and ancient wisdom sources being attributed. [eek]


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Johnetone

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I've been saying for a long time that we need REVERSE ITALICS as an option on font to suggest sarcasm. LoL <3
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9ways

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Reply with quote  #14 
Footnotes, we need FOOTNOTES!
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